Another day, another deal.
September of 2017 saw us packing for a quick weekend trip to the German capital of Berlin. A hot deal of £40 return per person was too good to refuse and we were heading to the city once divided by communism and capitalism. The flights times gave us around 36 hours in Berlin and we had no time to waste. We knew what we wanted to see and as soon as we checked in to the hotel, we headed straight out.
With our flight leaving us hungry for what this city has to offer, our first thought was make our way to Berlin’s most famous snack, the Currywurst. An institution in the capital and there are no other better places to get this, than the highly rated Curry 36. With the sauce thick and bratwurst moist, flavours jump engulfs your taste buds. I have had Currywursts from Hamburg before, but this one takes the prize.
A short metro journey took us to the Branderburger Tor. Perhaps the most famous landmark of Berlin (depending who on you ask), it stood in its utmost glory. Once a symbol of division, it now stands for unity. Lit up by spotlights in the evening, it was a fantastic sight to see. The dusky backdrop made the view all the more memorable.
A couple of minutes down the road was the Reichstag. Well known during the Soviets capture of the building to help the fall of the Nazi’s, it is now a monument of the tumultuous times the country has been through. With the main dome destroyed during WW2, it has been replaced with a glass one and is used as a walkway.
Another metro ride took us to central hub of Berlin, Alexanderplatz. We were greeted with the hustle and bustle of a city, shopping centres and main stations. But nothing took our eye more than the Fernsehturm. The needle towers above the whole city and dominates the skyline. It was built to showcase the communist power over Berlin during the Cold War. It was designed to broadcast the Soviet propaganda through the airwaves and brainwash its citizens. Now a TV Tower and a tourist venue, it is one of Berlin’s main attractions.
A few metro stations away was Checkpoint Charlie. A crossing between West and East Germany during the cold war which was controlled by the West and Soviet armies. Who knew that such a small outpost divided ideologies so vast, with the West thriving and the Eastern half almost starving. A great spot to reflect on how things were for the Berliners then.
An eventful evening exhausted our legs, to the hotel we go.
Final day in the city, and we got up early. The sun was shining and we picked up where we left off. It was a somber start as we visited the Holocaust Memorial. A park that is filled with concrete blocks to remember the 3 million jews brutally murdered during WW2. The place was serene, as you walk through grid like formations and getting lost through the passages. With several interpretations of the monument, it is a fitting tribute for those who lost their lives during the horrible regime.
To the last area of our Berlin escapade, the Museum Island. As the name suggests, it consists of five museums within the little island surrounded by the river Spree. We didn’t have time and money to visit every single museum so we just casually strolled within it to let the day pass by. Below are some of the sights we were lucky to see:
Our way back to the airport brought us to some of Berlin Wall’s remnants. It was a stark reminder that the city had around 91 miles worth of concrete walls divided the city that was torn down not so long ago. The older locals had lived through that era of the other side’s secrecy. Gladly, everything in Berlin is heading towards progression. The city had left some parts of the walls standing to remind us of the scale of severance it brought.
With the country playing a huge role within the European Union, Germans can now look towards the future. It’s industrious people helped spring them back to becoming one of the world’s respectable countries.
Our little weekend getaway to Berlin taught us a lot about its turbulent history and somewhat brought us to a historical pilgrimage. We missed out on it’s well known night life due to the time we had available. This trip was none like we had ever been on. We learn the history of WW2 in the classrooms, but visiting the city was a better education than hours in school. The city had its past to reflect on, and the future to contemplate. With a progressive surge of industry and wealth within the country, Berlin is a reminder of its people’s resilience.